Help me get to Vermont!

"Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail..."

Wait, that's not my story. Let's try this again. 

Call me Jess. I am a twenty-something year old from the South Bronx who is looking for help raising my writing residency tuition. Because we all hated how long Moby Dick was in high school, here's the short version of my story:

My mother, who was a single parent, had two strokes when I was in high school. We were living below the poverty line at the time, but couldn't find the resources to help her. Although I loved school, I dropped out to take care of her, my grandparents, and my little brother. After my brother entered junior year of high school, I earned my GED and enrolled in a community college. I excelled in my studies and, after about two years, managed to transfer to my dream school: Columbia University. I am currently a rising senior majoring in psychology and taking writing classes.

Columbia hasn't been easy for me. At $60,000 a year, the tuition and room and board are always a stretch, even with my scholarships, and I live paycheck to paycheck. I usually pay my rent months late too (sorry, Mr. Landlord!) but it always works out in the end (thanks, Mr. Landlord!). On July 15th the most awesome, wonderful thing happened: I was accepted to a month-long residency at Vermont Studio Center.

This residency will allow me to live another one of my dreams: writing my first novel. I was awarded a merit scholarship for the program, but I'm still responsible for half the cost, my transportation to the center, and my supplies. Due to my aforementioned financial situation, I can't cover the expediture on my own. 

I don't like asking for money, but I really want to attend this residency and figure out if writing is what I'm meant to do. I appreciate any support you can give, whether it's a dollar, a high-five, or sending a positive thought my way.

If you donate, you'll get my undying love and devotion (which looks a lot like purple glitter) and a few fun extras such as pictures from the residency, excerpts of my work, and really bad drawings of me in a tiara.

In the event that I manage to get more than I need for the residency, the leftover money will either go towards tuition for my senior year or having the bioengineering department genetically construct a live unicorn, whichever I deem more important at the time. 

Spoiler alert: It'll probably be the unicorn. 

Thank you for reading.

♥ Jess


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Jess Silfa 
New York, NY
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